WASHINGTON DC — The Defense Department is moving forward with the purchase of 478 additional F-35 Lightning II airplanes.
Officials announced the $34 billion dollar deal with aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin during a briefing last week at the Pentagon. Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment says the F-35s will form the backbone of the U.S. and allied fifth generation inventory for the foreseeable future.
According to Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric T. Fick, the F-35 program executive officer, the three lots in the agreement will deliver 478 aircraft, 351 of which are the F-35A aircraft for the Air Force, 86 are the F-35B aircraft, for the Marine Corps, and 41 of the F-35C aircraft for carrier-based operations.
"We will reach a unit recurring flyaway cost-per-aircraft target of $80 million for a U.S. Air Force F-35A price, by Lot 13 — which is one lot earlier than planned," Lord said. "A significant milestone for the department."
Lord also said that there's a per-unit cost reduction for each variant of the aircraft that averages around 12.7% when comparing Lot 14 purchases to Lot 11 purchases. "These represent some of the largest achieved savings lot-over-lot for the program."